How to grow zucchini in Perth

Growing zucchini in Perth

Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) also know as courgette are ideal for the beginner vegetable gardener because they are quick and easy to grow.  Zucchini is renowned for being prolific – just two or three plants are likely to keep a family supplied with fresh home-grown zucchinis all summer long. Zucchini are a part of the cucurbit family which is made up of watermelon, pumpkins, cucumber, squash, marrow, rockmelons and zucchini. Zucchini fruit develops quickly and they do well in our hot, Western Australian summers producing a lot of fruit quickly and in a relatively small space.

If you have ever wondered how to grow zucchini in Perth, Western Australia then look no further. A relatively vegetable to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing zucchini in Perth, but get these right and you will be laughing.

When to plant zucchini in Perth:
Sow zucchinis into the garden once the cold has passed has passed and its consistently warm. In Western Australia this is typically between September and January. They are very sensitive to cold and thrive in hot weather, so they’re not worth starting until its properly warm.

Types of zucchini in Western Australia:
There are a wide variety of zucchini available in in Western Australia. Check your local nursery. A few of the more common varieties in Perth are.

  • Black Beauty Zucchini – bushy plant with heavy fruit set.
  • Gold Finger Zucchini – smooth golden coloured fruit and a heavy harvest.
  • Gold Rush Zucchini – early grower which is suitable for cooler climates.

How to grow zucchini in Perth, WA:
Follow the following guide for growing zucchinis at home in the backyard or garden. Make sure you have ample room.

  1. Choose a sunny spot in the garden with well drained soil and enrich with high quality potting mix. Add some Liquid Lime and Dolomite to sweeten the soil and help prevent blossom end rot.
  2. Sow 2-3 seeds into mounds of moist soil spaced 1m apart and water well.
  3. As seedlings grow, thin seedlings and leave only the two strongest.
  4. Mulch around the base of the plants with organic mulch like pea straw to retain moisture.
  5. Feed weekly with a Liquid Plant Food.
  6. Harvest when fruit is small and tender for best flavour. Pick regularly to encourage more fruiting.

Growing zucchini in pots:
Zucchinis grow best in the garden, but can still grow well in pots. Look for compact growing varieties.

  1. Choose a pot at least 40cm wide and deep. Position in full sun and protect from strong winds.
  2. Fill pot with quality potting mix.
  3. Sow seeds, cover lightly and water well.
  4. As seedlings grow, thin seedlings and leave only the strongest and feed weekly with a vegetable Liquid Plant Food.
  5. Harvest when fruit is small and tender for best flavour. Pick regularly to encourage more fruiting.

How to propagate zucchini:
Zucchini can be propagated by collecting seeds from mature zucchinis.

  1. Allow a couple of zucchini fruit to become marrows (large with very thick, hard skin).
  2. Harvest and store for two weeks to allow the seeds to plump out before harvesting the seed.
  3. Open the zucchini with a knife and gather the seeds from the centre of the fruit, washing them to remove any flesh still clinging to the seeds.
  4. Spread the seeds out evenly over paper towel and allow to dry. When the seed is dry, it will snap when bent.
  5. Store your zucchini seeds in clearly marked envelope in a dry location for sowing next spring.

Best fertiliser for zucchini:
Using the right fertiliser for zucchini can directly improve your vegetable production. For disease and insect free zucchini plants with bigger and tasty fruits, feeding your zucchinis fertiliser is a must.

Now the question; what is the best fertiliser for zucchini?

My personal pick for the best is Yates Thrive Vegie and Herb Liquid Plant Food, it provides the balanced nutrition they need to produce juicy, luscious zucchini and healthy green foliage.

When to harvest zucchini:
Zucchini plants will start cropping within six to eight weeks after planting. These plants produce big yellow male and female flowers. It’s easy to tell the difference between the two. The male flowers are on bare stalks, and the female flowers have a baby zucchini attached.

  1. Harvest zucchini using secateurs or a small sharp knife to avoid damaging the vine. The more you pick, the more fruit the vine will produce.
  2. For best flavour, pick the zucchini when young.
  3. If harvesting flowers, remember that this may be at the expense of the developing fruit.

Zucchini companion plants:
Beans, corn, and squash are the ultimate companion plants in the gardening world. This top-notch trio is typically planted together in indigenous peoples’ gardens and is collectively known as “the three sisters.”

Zucchini care and common problems:
Snails and slugs will attack young seedlings. Protect your zucchini using snail and slug pellets.
Fungal infections such as powdery mildew or downy mildew can become a problem during the growth cycle. Remove infected leaves and spray with a suitable organic fungicide. To minimise the risk of infection, space your zucchini plants at least 1m apart and avoid overhead watering.

Storing zucchini at home:
To store zucchini in the fridge, keep the fruit whole, dry and unwashed. Store them in a paper bag with one end open to encourage air circulation, and pop them in the refrigerator crisper drawer. They’ll keep there for 1 to 2 weeks, however, you will see the skin start to shrivel as they move past optimal freshness.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

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